Silverbird is a leading fintech company providing borderless payment solutions for global businesses. It allows its customers to get a multi-currency account built for quick and easy international payments, with no limits. We met Silverbird’s co-founder Georgy Babilashvili to talk about building a successful business model for a thriving fintech company such as Silverbird.
How do you identify the market need or gap that Silverbird aims to address, and what motivates you to venture into the fintech industry?
The market gap that Silverbird aims to address is related to the challenges faced by many SMEs in the realm of cross-border payments and banking. Traditional banks frequently hesitate or decline to open accounts for these SMEs. Silverbird serves as a vital support system for SMEs in over 100 countries, spanning from the UK and EU to dynamic hubs such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and beyond.
My motivation behind venturing into the fintech industry is rooted in championing global empathy. For Silverbird, it’s not just a mission, it’s our essence. We aspire to transform the banking sphere into a space where understanding transcends borders, ensuring that SMEs globally receive the financial support and services they need.
Building a successful fintech business involves navigating through regulatory landscapes. Can you share your experience in dealing with regulatory challenges and how Silverbird approached compliance?
Numerous traditional banks adhere to outdated methods when assessing businesses. Typically, they require clients to submit invoices and contracts as a means of understanding their business nature, placing heavy reliance on these documents. In instances where an applicant seeks to engage in financial fraud, there is a significant risk of them submitting fake invoices and contracts.
In contrast, our approach involves leveraging data from independent sources. We have access to datasets that showcase client activities verified by third parties. This not only enhances our ability to combat financial crime but also ensures that our clients are not unduly burdened with excessive requests.
Innovation is a key driver in fintech. What strategies did Silverbird employ to stay ahead of technological advancements and continuously innovate in the financial technology space?
We are highly proficient in seamlessly incorporating global customs and supply chain data into our daily operations. Furthermore, our expertise in advancing Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) technologies has been significantly enhanced by effectively leveraging social media profiling.
Our strategic approach entails deploying resources on a global scale for data acquisition, alongside the implementation of cutting-edge Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tools. This concerted effort is aimed at establishing a scalable, real-time, and comprehensive customer risk profiling system.
This innovative methodology plays a crucial role in facilitating access to financial services for international Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). In stark contrast to traditional banks, which have historically shown reluctance in serving this vital sector and often reject 80-90% of applications from SMEs involved in cross-border trade, Silverbird emerges as a formidable advocate for these businesses. It actively supports their growth and acts as a cornerstone in driving economic development.
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Collaboration and partnerships are crucial in the fintech ecosystem. How does Silverbird leverage the power of collaborations?
The linchpin of Silverbird’s global expansion lies in international partnerships with major payment platforms. Currently, we are forging new relationships with global Tier-1 and leading local banking institutions in key regions such as the UK and EU, USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, and other parts of the world. In addition to these banking partnerships, we collaborate with tech companies offering innovative solutions that can seamlessly integrate into our client verification process. A recent addition to our network is our partnership with Resistant AI, a powerful tool that aids in identifying forged documents and significantly enhances our risk profiling capabilities. Through this collaboration, we have erected a robust barrier, preventing bad actors from passing compliance checks.
Customer trust is paramount in the financial sector. How does Silverbird maintain trust with its user base, especially considering the sensitivity of financial transactions and data?
We are licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and authorized to work in the EU by the Central Bank of the Netherlands – some of the most strict financial regulators.
Apart from this, we select our banking partners very carefully. When our clients make payments and they see correspondent banks in the payment chain, they see leading UK and EU financial institutions.
Finally, trust comes not from words but from actions. If clients see that they have full control over their money, whenever they need to withdraw funds they can do it without limits; when they make outbound payments, such payments go without delays. Their level of comfort is high. More than 99% of client orders are fulfilled immediately, without any friction. We are on par or even better than the industry standard.
Scaling a fintech business requires a solid business model. What are the key components of Silverbird’s business model, and how does the company adapt it to different markets or customer segments?
To be successful, you should offer what customers really need and do it better than others. Our customers are export and import SMEs. Making cross-border payments is their basic need. Besides, they need a bank with which they can make payments to as many countries as they need, in as many currencies, and not spend time on unnecessary bureaucracy.
We tap into this need: we offer payments to and from more than 200 countries, in more than 35 currencies. It is more than most of our clients actually require. And then we do it better: we have built our compliance tools to do all necessary checks on the background, via independent sources, which means without disturbing clients with endless document requests. Clients appreciate it.
Fintech is known for its competitive landscape. How does the company differentiate itself to stand out in the market?
Silverbird distinguishes itself in the competitive fintech landscape by addressing a prevalent pain point for clients in traditional banks. Recognizing the frustration caused by excessive document requests and irrelevant questions, our team employs a unique approach. As I already mentioned, we verify client activity through independent sources, eliminating the need for unnecessary document requests. This client-focused strategy not only streamlines the payment process significantly but also prevents distractions, allowing clients to focus on their business.
This emphasis on efficiency and a streamlined client experience sets Silverbird apart, making it stand out in the competitive fintech market. Clients appreciate our commitment to providing a more effective and tailored financial service experience.